Mid-life predictors of late-life depressive symptoms

CPD Hours: 1
Current as at 27 October 2021
This study addresses the question of whether certain risk factors identified at different age ranges were shown to be more consistently associated with women becoming depressed in later life, more precisely at early late life, age 65 to 77.

Tags:

“Conceptualize midlife predictors of late-life in women”

Course Content

The adverse consequences of depression are well established. Currently, of all illnesses, depressive disorder causes the largest amount of non-fatal burden. Depression is also associated with excess morbidity and mortality, higher demands on caregivers and higher service use, and has substantial economic implications.

The relationship between age and depression has long intrigued social scientists and epidemiologists. Is old age really depressing? That is, are depressive symptoms and disorders an inevitable concomitant of older age?

Scientists hypothesized this association as self-evident because, with increasing age, the despair of disability and impending mortality would manifest itself as depression. However, these views have been challenged by empirical studies that report inconsistent results. Some have found that older adults are more depressed, others have found the opposite, and still, others have reported both findings but for different age groups.

Because time-varying covariates describe an individual’s changeable statuses over time, such as social, economic, and physical health status, the models linking contemporaneous information about these covariates and outcomes at each time point are plagued with questions of reciprocal causation.

This study addresses the question of whether certain risk factors identified at different age ranges were shown to be more consistently associated with women becoming depressed in later life, more precisely at early late life, age 65 to 77.

The authors expected that personality traits are significantly associated with the onset of depression, but that the effect of personality is overwhelmed by the effect of health-related variables. Literature shows accumulating evidence of the importance of personality in the onset of depression in the elderly. Some researchers assume personality to be the most consistent and important predictor of individual differences in depression among adults, irrespective of age.

This article also indicates that the impact of physical health on the presence of higher depressive symptoms in later life cannot be ignored, for example, chronic physical pain is one of the strongest predictors of depressed mood in women in older age.

Learning Outcomes

In this session, you will:

  • Conceptualize midlife predictors of late-life in women 
  • Understand what are the strongest predictors assessed for healthy ageing
  • Examine the risk factors determining the symptom frequency and anxiety in women
  • Study the suggested clinical interventions aimed at improving positive effects across the midlife
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